Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2006
I'm a Horticulture student at the University of Georgia, and while Dr. Dirr's reference books are great this computer version is terrible. Why?

- It is proprietary to Windows. They could have used Flash or HTML to accomplish exactly the same thing, and it would have run on Mac and Linux as well.

- The user interface is horrible. You can't "maximize" the window, and are stuck searching for and *reading* information in a TINY box on the screen.

- The information is presented in an ugly format. Text is not anti-aliased (smooth looking), and much of the information is smashed together, making it hard to read and discern details. They could have used better spacing, a better typeface, bold and italics emphasis, etc to make this easier to read and quickly locate relevant information on the screen.

- Photos are VERY LOW RESOLUTION. If you want to zoom in on them, forget it. They get extremely pixelated. Also, some of the photos are just poor quality and look like they were never balanced in Photoshop. The line drawings are also not vectorized, which means when you zoom in on them or try to print them they sometimes have jagged edges.

- Altogether this program is NOT professional at all. It looks and feels like it was made in 1995. Very poorly put together, hard to use, and not worth $100!

I would like to state that this review in no way considers the INFORMATION that is included in this DVD. The information is very valuable and a reflection of Dr. Dirr's expertise. If you like the book (which you should), and want a searchable electronic copy, this DVD is unfortunately your only option. The information is on the DVD, but the interface to access it will probably leave you frustrated and wondering why it is not as professional as it could be -- especially when you just forked over a small fortune.

My recommendation? Buy the book and a pack of post-it note bookmarks. Pictures of the trees and leaves can be easily found on the web for free. There is no need for this program, considering the cost and poor interface.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2005
In planning my garden I have scoured the web for photos of different shrubs and trees for their habit, in flower, in fall, etc. As I am not a professional, buying the Horticopia photo library is hard for me to rationalize. Buying this DVD was not-
Dirr gives lots of practical information on placement, habit, propagation, landscape value, and disease problems associated with numerous varieties and cultivars of each plant, and the DVD is sitting in my computer's drive all the time. The range of photos (both close-ups and habit shots, buds, stem, bark, leaves, flowers, diseases, fall color, winter habit, etc.) is very useful and the specific information on culture, growth rates, berries and seeds (and where they are attractive vs. where they can linger and become ugly) which zones the plant is marginal in or zones where fall color is best, etc. is very helpful. For the curious, he lists many additional research articles on the finer points of some cultivars. While for choosing the right magnolia, for example, I am still desiring a separate book on the many cultivars, and I have had the darndest time trying to locate anywhere a picture of Hamamelis Jelena in its summer leafed-out habit-- this is still what I turn to far and above any other book or source in my possession for plants information. While this won't substitute for going to arboretums and nurseries to window-shop in person (and it would be a little sad if it could...), it is the handiest reference I've come across. Searchable database feature lets you look for plants by characteristics (light, color, etc.) or by scientific or common name. For the price, I would buy this instead of Dirr's encyclopedia (or in addition to it). I am happy to have both but now refer to the DVD more often.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2007
Dirr's book "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" is the standard text in the field. The DVD contains the text of the book, the line drawings from the book plus thousands of color photographs of plants. It contains a searchable database allowing you to search for plants based on things like flower color, flowering time, fall color, size and cultural requirements. All that makes this DVD and excellent resource for the student or plantsman.

Now for the caveats. It is Windows only (and doesn't run on Vista). The format isn't great and the database cannot be changed or added to. You cannot add your own photographs or thoughts about the plants. It is best to think of this as an interactive text book rather than a database you control.

Like a previous post I found the inability to maximize the base window annoying, it contributes to the feel of poor formatting.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2006
What a major disappointment! A lifelong educator has chosen to lock his knowledge up in software that limits the user to only current Windows based operating systems. Both he and Alan Armitage have spent a lifetime photographing, evaluating, and describing thousands of plants. There are absolutely no other resources like this. I can certainly understand why they might want to protect their images & information but these are not merely locked up, they are tied to an operating system. Will these CD & DVD software applications still work twenty or even ten years from now? I certainly would count on all of the current Windows functioning when Vista finally appears.

And as an educator myself I had hoped to use or recommend this to my college students and perhaps use them in class but our campus has a significant percentage of Apple & Linux systems which cannot run this software.

I know there are excellent alternatives available but the publisher made this fatal right from the start.

Caveat emptor
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2009
Spoke to Varsity Press publisher who informed me that program now works fine with the new Vista update available free from Microsoft. Lots of programs had the same problem. Still no way to run this on Macs however.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
So - I bought this hoping for an easy to use collection of photos and information, but it's not user-friendly at all. It won't let you maximize the window, so with my giant monitor (I am a landscape designer, of course I have a big monitor) I am stuck using like an 8 x 10 window or so.

The search function isn't good enough or else the info isn't organized enough to make searching a useful exercise. Either I got hundreds of answers or just 2-3.

And I kind of resent that I don't get to use the photos in any way besides reference on my computer. I would have liked to print out the occasional photo, like one can photocopy a book, to show clients a plant I wanted to use in their garden, but the format of this DVD was too unfriendly to allow that.

The info here is top notch, don't get me wrong - but I'd just stick with a proper book. Much as everything else in my life is digital, clearly publishers are too stuck in the dark ages to figure out how to make a user-friendly manual of plants for the computer. I only wish I hadn't dropped so much money on it!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on September 13, 2009
I have used this DVD at work & was pleased to find an inexpensive copy for home...problem is it wouldn't download because it's for XP and not the Vista I use at home. I was able to return it for a full refund. If you have Vista you can't use this DVD!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on February 17, 2009
Item was received in a timely manner and in excellent condition. It operates perfectly and there are no scratches on the DVD or glitches with the program. Fantastic service.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2008
It is a clanky piece of software at best... and to make matters worse it does not even work with windows Vista!!!!!!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs
Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr (Hardcover - October 18, 2011)
$51.98

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.